NU Panhandle Alumni chapter recognizes Alumni of the Year

Panhandle alumni award

Dennis Ernest (left) receives the 2016 Panhandle Alumni of the Year Award from Sandy Massey, a past winner.

Posted Aug. 16, 2016

Dennis Ernest of Gering has received the 2016 Alumni of the Year Award from the University of Nebraska Panhandle Alumni Chapter.

The Alumni of the Year Award recognizes individuals in the Panhandle who have supported NU with their attendance at various University activities, promoted UNL in their communities and been actively involved in their communities and successful in their careers.

Ernest served as program director and operations director at KNEB Radio in Scottsbluff for 28 years, before stepping back to morning show host, news co-anchor, and copy writer. He received a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Nebraska in 1980, after graduating from Dalton High School. He started his radio career in high school, announcing high school games and the Dalton Hour for KSID Radio in Sidney. Before coming to KNEB, he also worked at KFOR in Lincoln as news editor; at KBHL in Lincoln; and at KRVN in Lexington.

At KNEB, he recruited Rob Barney, former longtime sports director at the station, to come out west. Barney, News Director Kevin Mooney and Ernest helped grow the station to its current status in regional broadcasting.

Ernest and his wife, Connie, who were married last year, together have nine children, 15 grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren. They are active members of St. Agnes Catholic Church in Scottsbluff and key players in the Scottsbluff Family YMCA Strong Kids Campaign.

Also at the Founders event, recipients of Panhandle Alumni Scholarships were announced, including Alyssa Zwickl of Gering High School, Caitlyn Deal of Leyton High School, Hannah Rapp of Sidney High School, Jayden DeCora of Bridgeport High School, Kaelyn Shaul of Gering High School., and Katelyn Higgins of Leyton High School.

Officers for 2016 are President, John Marshall; vice president Leslie Shaver; secretary, Karen Helberg; treasurer, John Flint; and finance committee members Bryan Barrett and John Schmall.